While many people are busy watching the NBA and the NFL right now, the MLB is actually getting pretty interesting. Not only are the playoff races heating up, but so are the races for the league’s yearly awards. In fact, one player in particular just sent a strong message to the entire National League in regards to both the playoff race and the Cy Young award race — Trevor Bauer. The star, fiery pitcher didn’t just potentially make himself the favorite for the NL Cy Young, but he is also helping make the Cincinnati Reds one of the scariest teams in the MLB right now.
Trevor Bauer is a contender for the NL Cy Young award
The 2020 season has easily been Bauer’s best season of his career, but he has been a solid pitcher for years.
After becoming a pivotal piece to the Cleveland Indians‘ starting rotation in 2014, and having a couple of decent seasons with them in 2014 and 2015, Bauer pitched pretty well in 2016. He ultimately went 12-8 on the mound that year, had a 4.26 ERA, and was a part of an Indians team that reached the World Series.
Bauer then went 17-9 and had a 4.19 ERA in 2017 with the Indians before earning an All-Star selection in 2018 with a 2.21 ERA and 221 strikeouts .
The Indians then traded Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds during the 2019 season. After he struggled some last year, Bauer has since been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball this year.
Sure, there are some great pitchers that can make a case for the NL Cy Young award this season. Among the contenders are Jacob deGrom (4-2, 2.14 ERA), Yu Darvish (7-3, 2.22 ERA), Dinelson Lamet (3-1, 2.07 ERA), and Corbin Burnes (4-0, 1.77 ERA).
However, Bauer is definitely one of the favorites, if not the main favorite. He only has a 5-4 record with the Reds, but he has a 1.73 ERA and leads the NL in strikeouts with 100. He is also third in the NL in total innings pitched, and has pitched more innings than all the contenders listed above.
The Cincinnati Reds are in playoff contention
The Reds struggled out of the gates as a team this year. They began the season with a 20-26 record. However, lately, they have been one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Cincinnati has won nine of its last 11 games to improve to 29-28, and they are right in the middle of the NL playoff race. According to MLB.com, the Reds are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for NL Central’s second guaranteed playoff spot. The Cardinals, however, hold the tiebreaker with a 6-4 season record against the Reds.
The Reds currently hold the NL’s final playoff spot as of Sept. 24, but are just percentage points behind the San Francisco Giants for the seventh spot.
Bauer sent a strong message to the entire National League
In Bauer’s most recent start that helped give the Reds a 29-28 record, he was absolutely dominant and might have cemented his claim to the NL Cy Young award.
Bauer pitched eight innings in a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He only allowed four hits, one earned run, and he struck out 12 batters.
After the game, Bauer was asked if he has done enough to win the Cy Young award.
“I don’t know how you could see it any other way,” Bauer said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Bobby Nightengale.
Not only did his start send a strong message about the Cy Young award race, but it also sent a strong message to the NL about the Cincinnati Reds. Cincinnati has some good hitters that include Eugenio Suarez (15 home runs), Nick Castellanos (14 home runs), Jesse Winker (12 home runs), and Joey Votto (11 home runs), but the Reds also have arguably the best starting rotation in baseball.
In addition to Bauer, the Reds have Sonny Gray (5-3, 3.73 ERA) and Luis Castillo (4-5, 2.86 ERA). If a team has to face the Reds in the playoffs, they will have a tough time trying to get a hit off them.
Trevor Bauer and the Cincinnati Reds aren’t 100% in the playoffs yet, but they just sent a strong message to the entire NL about how scary they can be if they end up making it.